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Man takes child molestation trial directly to judge, is convicted

People accused of sex offenses often face an uphill battle to prevent being convicted. This is especially true for someone who is already in prison for a sex crime. This situation unfolded recently in St. Louis, Missouri, and did not end well for the accused, despite his contention that he was innocent.

In this particular case, the man had been sent to prison in 2006 after he pled guilty to a charge involving a 14-year-old girl. The trial that just concluded, however, was in regard to a girl who was then 5 years old. The alleged abuse began in 2004 and, according to the girl, continued until the man was sent to prison two years later.

There were several factors in the case that might have put questions in the mind of a jury as to the man's guilt or innocence; however, the accused man waived his right to a jury trial in favor of having the case decided by a judge.

Among these factors was the alleged victim, who is 12 years old now. She was in kindergarten when the alleged abuse began, so her memory of the events is likely hazy at best.

Another factor was one of technology. According to the girl, the man took incriminating pictures of their encounters with his cell phone. However, according to the man, at the time he did not have a cell phone that had a camera and thus would have been unable to take photographs.

A third reason that might have given pause to a jury is the fact that the girl was much different in age than other girls with whom the accused man admittedly had inappropriate relationships. Among his three prior convictions, each involved girls who were teenagers. The defendant took the stand in this case and said he had no reason to do what he was accused of because of the girl's young age. However, the judge discounted all of these factors and convicted the man on multiple counts of sodomy and child molestation.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "St. Louis man guilty in fourth sex crime involving minors," Jennifer Mann, March 7, 2012

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